Yosef Sa'ar forwarded this article from Haaretz about Israeli numismatist Leo Kadman. Thanks! Here's an excerpt - see the complete
article online for more about his unusual lifestyle - "The Openly Polyamorous Family That Shocked Tel Aviv in the '20s". -Editor
The Leo Kadman family at home in Tel Aviv
From left: Leo, Shulamit and Gurit with their grandchildren
Among the passengers on the S.S. Umbria, a ship carrying German Jewish immigrants that arrived at Jaffa port on October 22, 1920, were the members
of the Kaufmann family. They were a singular family unit. There was Leo, the father, and Gertrude (afterward Gurit), the mother, with their
10-month-old son Raphael – and there was also Leo's other wife, Shulamit, a young physician. Leo was 25; Gertrude, 23; Shulamit, 24. Ardent Zionists
all, members of the Blau Weiss (Blue White) Jewish youth organization in Germany, they had come to help create a new society in the Land of
Both women, Gertrude-Gurit and Shulamit, bore the surname "Kaufmann," which after Israel's establishment they Hebraized to "Kadman." Gurit
initiated the surname change, and everyone was enthusiastic about switching from a name that meant "salesperson" in German, to a name whose Hebrew
root refers to "progress," as Gurit emphasized. On the same occasion, she took a first name no one had ever heard before: Gurit.
One day in the early 1920s, Leo Kadman wrote in his memoirs, he was walking on the beach near Caesarea when an Arab boy offered to sell him an
ancient coin. He identified it as a coin from the period of the Roman conquest and destruction of the Second Temple. Thereafter, he started to
collect coins and became an expert in the currency of the Roman era in the country, publishing books and articles on the subject. He was a founder of
the Israel Numismatic Society, which met in the house on Shalag Street. In 1962, he donated his collection to the Eretz Israel Museum in Ramat Aviv,
and financed the creation of the museum's Kadman Numismatic Pavilion to house the coins.
In December 1963, Kadman's longtime dream of hosting the International Numismatic Congress in Israel came true. At the opening event, held at the
Hebrew University, he welcomed the participants, uttered a couple of words, suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the stage. Physicians in the
audience tried to revive him, but to no avail.
Ayala recalls that the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv initially refused to bury her father in a regular cemetery – he cast doubt on Leo's Jewishness,
because he had lived with two women. After discovering that Leo and Shulamit were not formally married, but that she was his common-law wife, he
agreed to a regular burial.
Shulamit died in 1977, and Gurit passed away 10 years later, at the age of 90.
To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
Polyamorous Family That Shocked Tel Aviv in the '20s
Wayne Homren, Editor
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